EU cars increasingly more fuel efficient, according to European Environment Agency

According to the European Environment Agency (EEA), new cars sold in the European Union are increasingly more fuel-efficient, as sales went up by 9% to a total of 13.7 million units last year.

Official test results reported by national authorities to the agency showed that last year new passenger cars sold emitted, on average, just 119.6 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilometre (km), which is 8% below the official EU target for 2015.

The European Union met its 2015 target of 130 g CO2/km in 2013 or two years ahead of schedule.

Diesel cars remain the most widely sold vehicles in the EU, representing 52% of all new car sales. However, the average fuel efficiency of petrol cars (122.6 g CO2/km) has been catching up with the fuel-efficiency of diesel cars (119.2 g CO2/km) in recent years, according to the EEA.

Sales of plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles continued to increase in the EU in 2015. However, sales of such vehicles still remain a small fraction of total sales, accounting for just 1.3% of all new cars sold. Their relative share was highest in the Netherlands, 12%, followed by Denmark with 8%.

Around 57,000 pure battery-electric vehicles were registered in 2015, a 50% increase from 2014.

The EEA report is based on “reported emissions,” which the agency calls provisional data.

Since 2010, when monitoring started under current legislation, official data showed that emissions have fallen by more than 20 g CO2/km.

Last year, the average CO2 emissions of a new car sold was 3% lower than the previous year’s.

The target by 2021 has been established at 95 g CO2/km.

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